Undergraduate Visual Arts Portfolio Requirements

As an applicant to the College of Art, Media & Design, you are required to submit a portfolio of original artwork. We look for individuals who are highly motivated and who provide evidence of visual experiences that demonstrate the ability to succeed in a highly competitive visual arts program.

The portfolio you present will vary based on your own experiences, interests, education and training. You may submit a broad-based portfolio containing examples of work from a variety of media. The portfolio should include original work samples that showcase your creativity, as well as the skills and media you have learned. It should also highlight your ability to communicate ideas.

Those interested in Film Design + Production should review the specific Film Design + Production Portfolio Requirements.

Portfolio Requirements

Applicants' portfolios should contain a total of 15-20 examples of original work, from at least two of the mediums listed below. Please note, students submitting Time-Based Media should submit a minimum of 2 works for review.

Examples of Two-Dimensional Media:

  • Drawings from life: figure drawing, still life, landscape
  • Drawings in charcoal, ink, pastel, pencil, etc.
  • Paintings: oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc.
  • Sketchbooks/process books
  • Illustration, storyboards, character design, concept art

  • Prints: traditional (etching, monotypes, silkscreen, etc.) and digital
  • Design: posters, book covers, web graphics, use of typography
  • Collage, mixed media

  • Photography: traditional, digital, black and white, color

  • Screen shots from original films or videos

Examples of Three-Dimensional Media:

  • Sculpture: metal, plaster, stone, wood, etc.

  • Crafts: ceramics, metals, textile design, fibers, glass, jewelry, furniture (wood)
  • Product and toy design

  • Book arts

  • Fashion, costume design

  • Extended media: architectural models, mixed media, model construction, set design

  • Installation: site-specific objects in the environment

Examples of Time-Based Media:
If submitting from this category, please include a minimum of 2 Time-Based Media pieces.

  • Animation production: individual and/or collaborative productions

  • Film/video production: individual and/or collaborative productions. State your role in the production. Up to 5 screen shots per film will be accepted as two- dimensional work.

  • Interactive media

  • Website authoring: site design, site graphics

  • Flash or Director animations or interactive productions

  • Interactive DVD work combining more than one art form

Developing Your Portfolio

An artist's portfolio is a way to present your talents, express your individuality, and tell us something about your formative creative visual experiences. We would like to see recent, original work that demonstrates your strengths and experience in the visual arts. The selection of pieces in your portfolio will tell us a great deal about you. Choose thoughtfully and carefully those pieces you think best demonstrate your talent and potential for further development in the art, media and design professions. Just as all talents are different, so are the backgrounds of all students. The Admissions Committee keeps this in mind when reviewing your work; we know that applicants' portfolios may reflect a wide range of experience.

Students looking for feedback on their portfolios during the development process can take advantage of the following options:

  • Schedule a Preliminary Portfolio Review: The Office of Admissions schedules preliminary portfolio reviews to give you the opportunity to have an Admissions counselor or faculty member review your portfolio in its current stage and offer recommendations for preparing your portfolio for an official review. Preliminary reviews are offered Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, and on select Saturdays. To schedule an appointment, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-616-2787 ext. 6049. A preliminary review is not required for admission.
  • Join us for a National Portfolio Day: National Portfolio Days offer students another opportunity for a preliminary portfolio review. At these events, you can receive feedback on your portfolio-in-progress from UArts' representatives, as well as representatives from other schools you may be interested in. The University of the Arts participates in a number of National Portfolio Days hosted throughout the United States. Pre-registration is not required for National Portfolio Days.
  • Enroll in a Portfolio Preparation Class: A portfolio preparation class can be a useful tool in building and polishing a portfolio for review for college admissions. The University of the Arts offers two portfolio preparation classes through the Pre-College Office: Portfolio Preparation for College Admissions, a semester-long Saturday School course, and Portfolio Preparation, a week-long intensive offered through the Pre-College Summer Institute. Visit our Pre-College Programs page for more information, or check with your local colleges or art centers for portfolio preparation classes offered in your area.

Submitting Your Portfolio

While the presentation of your portfolio needn't be elaborate, it should demonstrate the respect you have for your work. You should be able to talk about 
your work — what each project involved, how you made design decisions, what you learned from the experience, and how you feel about the finished piece. It is not necessary for you to mount or mat your work, as long as it is presented as a neat and coherent body of work. Group the pieces in a specific order, such as by medium, by size, by date completed or by subject matter. Both you and your interviewer will then have an easier time grasping the full import of what you show. Work done in charcoal, chalk or pastels should be sprayed with fixative and covered with a clean sheet of paper to protect it.

  • On-Campus Review: You should contact the Office of Admissions at 800-616-2787 ext. 6049 or 215-717-6049 to arrange an appointment for your portfolio review, or to register for one of our Portfolio Review Days. An official review can only be scheduled after the Office of Admissions has received your application.
  • Electronic Submissions: Freshmen and transfer applicants may submit their portfolio online via SlideRoom. Applicants may upload images (jpg), video (mov, wmv, flv) or pdf documents. For good image quality and fast upload, images should be sized no larger than 1280 x 1280 px @ 72 dpi. Video files must be kept under 20 MB. Our SlideRoom portal offers additional instructions for submitting work online. You must provide documentation of the work submitted including a description of the concept, project or problem involved.

Portfolio Review Days

Information for Transfer Students

As you are seeking admission at an advanced level (above that of a freshman), a faculty member from your major department will evaluate your portfolio. We assume that students seeking advanced standing have completed preparatory course work similar in content to the University's first year. Your portfolio should include work from these courses in addition to work directly related to your intended major. Although submissions via SlideRoom are accepted, an on-campus, in-person review is always preferred for transfer applicants.

PREP - Visual Arts Alternative Admission Program

UArts has designed an alternative admission program for those who have had limited formal training in the arts. Students interested in joining a visual art or design program who are in good academic standing but do not meet the portfolio requirement for admission, may apply to the four-week Summer PREP Program. Entry into PREP serves as a conditional admission; pending successful completion of the program and a cumulative grade of B or higher, students may have direct entry into visual arts / design programs within the College of Art, Media & Design.

This option is limited to those applying for entry at the freshman level. Students who successfully complete the program will receive 3 credits in the studio elective category.

Find out more about UArts' PREP Program.

Need Help? Contact Us:

Toll-Free : 800-616-2787 or 215-717-6049

Office of Admissions
The University of the Arts
320 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102-9762

Check out our Undergraduate Viewbook